BY BRIGHT JACOB
No fewer than one million, two hundred and five thousand, two hundred and sixty (1, 205, 260) pills of opioids were seized in two interdiction operations in Kogi and Gombe States by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, just as anti-narcotic officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos, disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate that operates between Nigeria, East Africa, and Europe, with the arrest of two members of the cartel.
Operatives at the Lagos airport had on Monday, March 13, intercepted a member of the drug syndicate, Ejezie Vitus Ifeanyi, during the screening of inward passengers on Ethiopian Airline flight from Malawi via Addis Ababa at the arrival hall.
According to a statement on Sunday by the spokesman of the NDLEA, Femi Babafemi, when a search was conducted on him, it was discovered that one of his two bags had false bottom concealment.
He said that during the preliminary interview of the suspect, he confessed that a member of the syndicate was waiting at the airport car park to pick him.
Babafemi explained that an immediate follow-up operation led to the arrest of Chukwu Franco Bright, who was waiting in a grey colour Mercedes Benz C180 coupe, marked EKY 973 GQ to receive the drug consignment.
After his arrest, a proper search of the bag was conducted leading to the recovery of 3.00 kilograms of heroin.
Babafemi said findings revealed that the drug syndicate networks between Nigeria, and Malawi, Mozambique in East Africa and Europe.
While Chukwu who lives in Lagos is responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the activities of mules on behalf of other members of the cartel based in Mozambique and Malawi, another set operates from the South-Eastern part of Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Babafemi also disclosed that NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA on Wednesday, March 15, intercepted a jerry can of palm oil going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
He said at the point of examination, it was discovered that 600 grams of cannabis sativa were concealed inside the jerry can of palm oil.
According to him, a suspect, Tunde Ogunbowale, who presented the consignment for export to Dubai, was immediately arrested.
“This is even as an attempt to export 2.7kg cannabis packaged as part of dried onions to Dubai through a postal service firm was frustrated by NDLEA officers attached to the courier company, who seized a carton filled with colourful sachets of dried onions, used to conceal the illicit consignment.
“In Kogi State, a total of 530,160 pills of tramadol and 99,000 tabs of diazepam were seized along the Okene-Abuja highway from a bus driver, Suleiman Oyedokun, 41, coming from Onitsha, Anambra State and going to Kontagora in Niger State on Monday, March 13. The same day, 576, 100 pills of tramadol concealed in bags of rubber slippers were intercepted by NDLEA officers at a trailer garage, old mile 3 road area of Gombe metropolis, Akko LGA, Gombe State. Four suspects: Usman Suleiman; Ya’u Yusuf; Saidu Suleiman and Abubakar Umar have so far been arrested in connection with the seizure.
“In Kaduna, 367 kilograms of cannabis sativa were recovered from a vehicle with registration number FKJ 141DX. Two suspects: Monday Suleiman, 62, and Sama’ila Mohammed, 30 were arrested while a bribe of One Million Two Hundred Thousand Naira (N1,200,000) offered NDLEA officers were documented as part of exhibits to prosecute the suspects.
“Operatives in Delta State also on Wednesday, March 15, arrested a local female distiller of cannabis sativa and dry gin, Ebi Akpotudua, 52, to produce a cocktail drink popularly known as monkey tail. She was arrested at Ugboroke by River Road, Warri with 19.5 litres of monkey tail and 22.2kg cannabis, Babafemi said.